On Nov. 12, Conor McGregor become the first simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history when he defeated Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden to capture lightweight gold. Two weeks later, the 155-pound belt officially became the only UFC championship hardware in McGregor’s possession.
McGregor coach John Kavanagh was not thrilled with the way the UFC went about stripping his fighter of the featherweight crown, which McGregor claimed with a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo at UFC 194 last December.
“For me personally, I was very disappointed with how they went about doing it,” Kavanagh said on the Red FM breakfast show (transcription via Severe MMA).
“It was a very messy set of circumstances which led to doing it. They lost a main event [at UFC 206] and then they haphazardly threw together a new main event.”
During the UFC Fight Night 101 broadcast on Saturday night, it was announced that McGregor had “relinquished” the 145-pound title, making Aldo, who captured interim gold at UFC 200, the new undisputed featherweight king. Additionally, the UFC 206 headliner between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis was changed to a 145-pound interim title clash. Holloway-Pettis became the UFC 206 main event after Daniel Cormier suffered an injury and had to withdraw from his light heavyweight championship rematch against Anthony Johnson.
“They felt they had to make this for a title in order for it to sell so they brought in another interim title that Jose Aldo already has and then bumped Jose Aldo up to the current undisputed champion,” Kavanagh said. “Which just seems ridiculous to me.”
Prior to McGregor’s win over Alvarez, UFC President Dana White said that the SBG Ireland representative would have to give up one of his belts with a victory at UFC 205. While McGregor never agreed to those terms, it appears he wasn’t given a choice in the matter after fighting twice at 170 pounds and once at 155 pounds in 2016.
Kavanagh argued that other champions have been inactive longer than McGregor has been as featherweight king.
“Conor has only been 11 months since he won that title. There have been many, many examples of fighters waiting 15 months, 18 months before defending it. He’s 11 months and they stripped him of it,” he said.
“I thought it was very shortsighted by the UFC how they went about doing it.”